Local News

Family Wants To Get Word Out About Polycystic Kidney Disease

Posted September 24, 2005 12:26 p.m. EDT

— Fathers pass down many things to their children, but there is one family tradition Bob Gorbe hopes and prays his daughter Libby never gets -- Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD).

"My father and his two sisters and his mother had it and I have it," Bob Gorbe said.

Polycystic Kidney Disease is the most common genetic life-threatening disease. Many cysts grow on the kidneys. At birth, the cysts are microscopic.

"As you get older, the cysts get bigger, they fill with fluid and eventually it shuts the kidneys down," Bob Gorbe said.

Nine months ago, Bob Gorbe began kidney dialysis. After a few tests, he will join a kidney transplant waiting list. The news of his condition hit his family hard.

"I was feeling anxious and worried, and I wanted to help," Libby said.

More people die from PKD every year than from muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell, hemophilia and down syndrome combined. Libby Gorbe organized a PKD Awareness Walk recently in Chapel Hill. The national foundation told her to expect to raise $2,000 for research.

"We've raised $10,000 and it's thrilling, and it's stellar. The generosity -- it just really touches your heart," Libby said.

The Gorbes hope many people will also consider donating organs when they die. With kidneys, you can be a living donor.

Bob Gorbe does not know where a kidney transplant will come from or when. Once on the national list, he could wait three to four years.

"You have to be hopeful. I mean there's no other way you can approach that. You just have to be hopeful," he said.

Libby Gorbe does not know if she has inherited PKD from her father. An MRI scan is the only way to detect the disease.v